Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Forget Me Not

Sometimes I feel like people have forgotten about me...  I see others being promoted above me in all aspects whether it be friendship, relationships, knowledge, trust, ministry, etc.  and I wonder, why not me?  What's wrong with me?  Am I doing something wrong and not realizing it?  As much as I believe people do not control my destiny I sometimes wonder how God can bring me into the promised place when people seem to be working directly against it...  It helps in one way I suppose, it makes me work harder, dig deeper (in myself and into God), grow stronger, sensitive to others...  I find comfort God...

Sometimes I wonder if God has forgotten... Forgotten His promises to me... Forgotten me?  I know, I know... Logically I am smarter than those thoughts; I have read "Footprints" heard Byron Cage sing "God has not forgot."  I'm a Christian I shouldn't have any thoughts about got forgetting me...  It's weak, it's foolish and some may even think it sin...  But then, didn't someone else have those thoughts?  Oh yes, David... Job (I'm thinking he wouldn't have said "though he slay me" if he felt completely comfortable with God's remembrance of him)...  Oh yes, and Israel (the whole nation)...  Even Jesus said "why hast thou forsaken me?" 

So now that I've clarified these thoughts are to be expected at times, give me a break :o)  

The other day I was looking for a scripture and although I did not find the one I was looking for, I think God helped me find the ones I needed dealing with perceiving to be forgotten... I was encouraged and possibly you can be as well...

  • The LORD hath sworn by the excellency of Jacob, "Surely I will never forget any of their works!"  Amos 8:7
  • For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. Hebrews 6:10
  • Make sure you don't take things for granted and go slack in working for the common good; share what you have with others. God takes particular pleasure in acts of worship—a different kind of "sacrifice"—that take place in kitchen and workplace and on the streets. Hebrews 13:16
  • But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. James 1:25

Now I know, God has not, and will not forget!  I am promised more than I thought, I was looking at the big picture but I was standing too close to bring all of it's glory into focus...  If I continue my "work and labor of love," if I continue to "minister" (clarification on this word...  Although it can include those people on the platform and full-time church staff, it is so simple and so much more at the same time...  You can "minister" by cooking a hot meal for someone who needs it, bringing cookies to a lonely neighbor, singing a song, writing a letter, speaking positive and encouraging words - and we need a lot more of that particular ministry! You can "minister" by trusting others enough to share your faults and successes with them so they can learn from you instead of from experience... All in all, anything you do for someone other than yourself that you are doing for the name of Jesus IS "MINISTRY!")  If I continue to take my "acts of worship" (see ministry and add lifestyle) to the streets, kitchen and workplace... If I "look carefully at the law that sets me free" (God's word and work of salvation... If I look into what he wants from me.) IF I continue in these things I am promised God cannot forget me and he will bless me... After all, how can you forget someone who is always bringing you letters, writing you songs, cooking you meals and speaking kind words?  More than that you would not want to forget that kind of person!  I know I am doing these things to and for Him because I looked it up "...'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me." Matthew 20:40  "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares." Hebrews 13:2

So I would like to echo a couple of words from David and make this promise "I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word." Psalm 119:16

Friday, February 12, 2010

"Thinking of You!"

So I'm on another kick of doing whatever I can (and more than usual) to get to the next level with God.  The reason isn't that where I am now is a bad place or that I'm not doing well where I am... Maybe it's that I'm a lot like my uncle Arden and can't stay in one place for any length of time without getting antsy. Whatever the reason, I do believe it's a good thing!

I always think/pray about how I want to be closer to God... How I want to eventually be so involved that I lose myself in him.  Eventually I want people to look at me walking in the mall, sitting in Starbucks or running the errands at work and say there goes God's girl.  I want my description to start with "you know the woman that speaks the words you think God would say to you" or "the woman who seems to look at you like Jesus would, the one who always loves and sees something good in everyone and everything" something along those lines. I want God to be so familiar with my presence that he begins to call me by a nickname...  Something equivalent to when my friends say "Miss. Q" to get my attention or a husband says "the wife" when he's talking to his buddies or a child says "my mom." 

The problem is, I keep coming up with the same process of getting to that place... I'm a romantic so I am always looking for that aspect in every relationship... I'm all about keeping the romance fresh and alive in any relationship (and not just husband/wife or girl/boyfriend kind... Friendships, yes, I try to surprise friends with sweet notes or supper on me etc. to make sure they know I appreciate them...  I even get coffee for my boss in the mornings because all in all he's pretty decent to me) and God seems to have this crazy idea that the wooing stage was completed on his part when he gave everything he could on the Cross of my sins.  He still does sweet things and surprises me answering little prayers I've only thought of and not yet spoken but he doesn't always pursue me.  To be completely honest that bugs me at times, then I remember how indebted I am to him and how he's proven his love in measures I will never catch up to let alone surpass.  So let's face it, the ball's in my court (and yours as well). 

The answer to my "I want to be closer to you" quest always presents itself along the lines of "Put in the time" or "you already know how to be closer you just don't want to do it."  Those answers make me uncomfortable... They make me feel lazy and I don't believe I am, however thinking about proving it kind of gets my back up a bit.  In today's society we (and I) have been taught we don't need to prove anything to anyone, if it feels good do it, tollerance and acceptance, you don't have to work for love it's a gift... While parts of these philosophies are correct they have lead us so far that we forget to work in a marriage, friendship, we've become so consumed with others accepting our point-of-view that we forget acceptance and agreement on an issue are two separate things.  The truth is, we do have to "work" for a marriage and/or friendship to be successful, we have to communicate with each other, consider the other's opinion and feelings, we must be faithful, etc.  It's good that people can tolerate different lifestyles enough to treat everyone equally (do unto others as you would have it done to you) but they should also understand everyone doesn't have to agree with the lifestyle to love the person who chooses it...  Everything is a two-way street; we all have to "work" toward strengthening a relationship for it to be strong.

I want people to see me as being God's... In the same family...  I want the God who lives on the inside to show on the outside through my actions, speech, walk, talk, every part of who I am... And as taboo as it has become to admit, I want the power associated with that God.  For people to view me as "God's woman" (a.k.a "Godly woman" for all you spiritual types reading this ha!) I have to spend time with Him... So much so that I start to say some of the current phrases always on the tip of his tongue (key word being current... I need a current relationship with Him so He can tell me what's on his mind about today...  And I am in no way saying the Bible is not current, just the opposite, I need to read it every day so he can make His word new!)  Enough that I don't spend hours creeping on Facebook because I don't want to be rude to the person in the room with me (being God,) talking to me.  I should be around Him enough to know how He moves, how He's going to finish His next sentence, what makes Him smile or the things I do that annoy Him (yes I do think God is annoyed at times.  He did, after all turn a few tables over when people trampled his house with goats to sell and disrespect on their tongues.)

I suppose I'm just sharing all this to confirm your own dreaded thoughts.  You can do this just as well as I can, we're just hoping there is an easier way... And there's not.  A relationship with God is like any other in that we need to "work" on it too... The good news is the hard part is over, He's taken care of the risk, He told us he loves us first and all we have to do is respond.  The not so good news is, we've hurt him time and time again and will continue to do so because "that's just human nature" but the Bible says "he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" if we "confess" (1 John 1:9) so we already have a guarantee of a relationship as long as we are striving (a.k.a working or putting in the time) for it... 

So I challenge you to work on it... Try... Strive... It's all about spending time with God, "getting to know him."  Ask him questions, just talk to him (that's what praying is... You start out with the general and expected small talk but it grows into deep and meaningful conversation/communication as you continue building a relationship every day), read the Bible, just be with Him...  Whatever you're doing know He's there just say "hi" or "I'm thinking about you" once in a while... Maybe the problem is that it's so simple, but God is interested in all that!  I love it when I get a random text from a friend saying "thinking about you" or "just wanted to say hi" and He loves it when we do those little things for Him!  As small as the steps may be, take them with me!  Accept the challenge, give it a while (sometimes it takes more time than we prefer) and I promise it will be worth it!

P.S.  I have set up comments here so I have to approve them before they are published... Let me know that you're accepting the challenge and I'll not even publish it if you would prefer I don't!  If you have questions about it ask and I'll get back to you!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Heaven's Wall Street

I was reading my friend's (Teri-Lyn) blog today "" and thought I would share the response I posted with my part of the "blog world!" 
A quote inlcuded in Teri-Lyn's blog from Because of the Times 2010 really made me think...  "We take nothing into eternity with us...  Except who we are and what we've done...  If we haven't done well, He won't say 'well done'...  We will all stand before God unsupported by family, friends, spouses, pastors, counselors, etc. would you want to stand before Him today as exactly who you are right now and with what you've done?" - Vesta Mangun

Teri-Lyn also shared a parable I mentioned in one of my latest Blogs and it reminded me of a lesson I think we all need to learn... the master entrusted his servants with his money to look after while he was gone. in his absence, 2 servants invested what they'd been given so that when the master returned he was "full of praise. 'well done, my good and faithful servant...let's celebrate together!'" the 3rd servant, being afraid to lose the master's money, hid it, and "the master replied, 'you wicked and lazy servant...why didn't you deposit my money in the bank? at least it could have gotten some interest on it?' to those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. but from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away."

One part of the three servant parable that always stands out to me is the two who "invested" the masters treasure ended up with different returns however they received the same praise from the master...  The implication is clear to me, it's the "investing" that counts, not the returns...  It's a hard lesson to learn, especially when you are "investing" in people and you want so much for them to show great return, harder still when we are so customized to comparing ourselves with others... Keeping up with the Joneses will kill you! The lesson may be hard but it's definitely life changing once you've got it so here it is:  your job is to "invest" not enforce the return... Remember God said his word will not return void (Isaiah 55:11) so once we've sent the word out the return is in His hands. The truth is we may never see the return ourselves but it is promised to be profitable! 

We must do our job with diligence and our job is to "invest!"  We are heaven's wall street the so the only question left is "when the boss walks in do you want to be on the floor working or standing around the water-cooler?"

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Out of the Grey

Grey areas are something we came up with all on our own... I never could understand why the Bible says there are no grey areas with God, but now I think I have a suitable answer (at least it was good enough for me to shut up about the injustice of no grey areas.)
Quite a while ago someone disregarded the consequences and released information I had told them in confidence, that person didn't think it was a big deal and in fact it probably wasn't... But if I can't trust them with the small issues how can they expect me to trust them with anything else? Matthew 25:21, 23  His lord said unto him, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord." (KJV)  I never did approach the issue with the person who spoke out of turn and we still hold a relationship, it's just not and will never be as close as it could have been.  Thankfully if we mess up with God he not only forgives but forgets and we can be just as close with Him after a mistake as before.  Isaiah 43:25  "I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins."  Hebrews 8:12  "And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins."   Hebrews 10:17  "And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more."  Speaking the words to others I had revealed in confidence to a friend was a "grey area" to them, I had not specifically asked the person not to share the information, was a given by the nature of the comment... Still, that mistake affected our relationship as a whole and without the person even realizing the consequence.

Translating the above experience into a relationship with God (because the natural mirrors the spiritual):  

  • Things that may seem to be a "grey area" to us, just a little sin, small white lie or things not really seeming "wrong" may not be to God...  But why aren't they, how can He say everything is black and white, either a sin or right?  Let's assume there is not an answer, He just decided and that's it, kind of like when our parents used to say "because I said so, that's why!" even if that's all it is do we really still want to risk the consequences unknown to us?

  • I sometimes look at it this way, if I gave my life for all humanity I would hope that if some of them decided to disregard my sacrifice it would be for something "big" (they were so angry because someone hurt their child that they killed that person in a fit of rage) rather than a "small" or in "grey area" (they were too embarrassed or uncomfortable when asked a question to answer truthfully so they told a "white lie" or they denied me by denying their relationship with me...)  It would say something to me that the person was willing to risk our relationship for something so trivial, it would hurt me and my sacrifice would have been disrespected whether that's what they intended or not... Wouldn't you feel that way? 
So my resolution to the whole "grey area" maybe I can "get by with or without this" question...  I don't want to stand before God one day and have him ask "So why wasn't the Crucifixion enough for you to (fill in the blank here)?" At that point it's too late to suck it up and take the embarrassment or to convince him the "grey area" decision didn't have anything to do with the Cross.  At this point the disregard, disrespect, hurt, disappointment, embarrassment, denial and/or "grey area" mistake would speak much louder than I, with all my explanations and excuses, ever could... After all, as the old adage goes "actions speak louder than words."  I have decided not to risk it, what will you decide?  By the way, not taking that kind of risk doesn't make you a "goodie goodie" or prude it makes you respectful (to His sacrifice) and prudent.